Universiteit Leiden

nl en

PhD Defence

Guns, Culture and Moors

Wednesday 2 November 2016
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

Racial stereotypes and the cultural impact of the Moroccan participation in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), more than 80,000 Moroccan soldiers fought in Spain, on behalf of the Nationalists led by General Franco, against the Spanish Republic. The Moroccans played a significant role in Franco’s eventual victory.

The presence of tens of thousands of Moroccan soldiers in Spain during the Civil War meant an encounter between two culturally and ethnically different peoples, and both the Moroccans and the Spaniards attempted to take control of the situation. The thesis aims to explain to
what extent the Moroccan soldiers were able to take control of this encounter which was influenced by the perception of otherness the Spaniards had of the Moroccans.

Despite the cultural barriers between the Spaniards and Moroccans, the prolonged presence of Moroccans in Spain allowed many, on both sides, to overcome those barriers. For example, Moroccans and Spaniards had romantic relationships despite the policy that tried to prevent this. Moreover, some Moroccans converted to Christianity despite efforts to keep the Moroccans and the Catholic Church separated. Yet, the cultural separation between the two peoples was, in broad terms, maintained through the work of the Spanish Nationalist state and army, Moroccan officials and the Moroccan soldiers themselves. This is why the Moroccans had their own units, distinctive uniforms and emblems, hospitals, cemeteries, cafés, musicians, and even

The thesis uses new archival material and interviews with Moroccan veterans to give the voice of the Moroccans a central place in examining their role in the Spanish


  • Prof. H. te Velde


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

Press contact

Inès van Arkel, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

This website uses cookies.  More information.